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Is English Politics stuck in the merde?

Three by-elections – three victories for Labour. In the 80’s that would have been cause for cheer, with visions of booting out the hated Tories.
Fast forward to today, and we have to acknowledge it’s not what it says on the tin.
For UK’s Labour, read PSOE of Spain or PASOK in Greece or the Social Democrats in Germany. Why not mention U-turn Hollande in Paris too?

The only ones crowing last night were UKIP – a decidedly nasty party which uses the BNP as a foil to say that it’s not fascist or racist, simply patriotic.

So, why did BNP activists canvass and campaign on behalf of UKIP?

The dirty little secret in the UK was that we did have a political force every bit as vile as Marie le Pen’s National Front in France and its equivalent in Holland, Italy, Hungary and Finland.

English politics can be classified so:

Far-Right: BNP & English Defence League
Hard-Right: UKIP
Right: Tories
Centre-Right: Lib-Dems & New Labour
Left: Individual Labour MP’s/activists / Greens (though
with a powerful German Greenesque cabal) &
Respect (controlled by a theocratic Right wing)

England is now shifting to the Hard Right. UKIP don’t need to win any Parliamentary seats in this rotten electoral system which discriminates against smaller parties.
UKIP has set the agenda. All parties, especially the One Nation Labour Party, is bowing down to this.
The shrill anti-immigration rhetoric of all parties is what we shall see more of before 2015. The opportunistic anti-EU budget stance of Miliband and Labour shows what’s in play.

To secure the southern English seats, Miliband will shift further to the right (while keeping to populist anti-banks slogans).
His model is France’s Francois Hollande.
Fool the Commentariat, appeal to the ‘progressive vote bank’ and let Ed Balls do a deal with the City of London.

Make no mistake, as people were fooled with Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems in 2010, they look like repeating that mistake with Ed Miliband in 2014-15 (as I did in 1997 with Tony Blair).
So, if Miliband does become PM (with help from LibDem Cable), we should except the Labour administration to follow similar hollowed out Socialists on the mainland and continue with the neo-liberal agenda of inequality in the name of efficiency.

I see no basis for a English Syriza to rise later in this decade.
There is no sign now, and precious little in its history, to show that that there is any appetite for rebellion.

Instead, I fear that an embittered England, finding it difficult coming to terms with the departing Scots, will recreate a Harsh Right tinged Identity politics.
Exclusion, forced patriotism & a backs-to-the-wall siege mentality will dictate the discourse.

After all, the background to this is the fact the UK is one of the most highly indebted states on this planet where its elite refuses to re-invent the state into a peaceful European entity.
The Greeks continued to spend on armaments even while the economy was tanking.
England continues the same (spending almost twice as much per head as most of Europe). Imperial delusions and a servile relationship with the USA demand that the only strategy is for obeisance to the City of London and sacrificing the working classes and the Precariat.
The welfare state has no protectors in any of the mainstream parties. There are some startling similarities between the Spanish and English elite.
Both are now looking to drive down the economy and make it Low-Cost.
Both are counting on the majority to meekly allow this social and economic engineering to reach its conclusion.
In Iberia, it looks like the rebellion will manifest itself in independence movements and the final break up of Imperial Spain.
On this island, the Scots will leave eventually.
What then for the English?

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Truncheons, blood, strikes & elections in Barcelona

The explanation of the Police thugs was that they didn’t mean to crack open the head of a 13 year old, walking next to his mother during yesterday’s demonstrations.
Apparently, the truncheon bounced off the kid’s ruck-sack and hit his head, leaving him with blood pouring out.

It happens. Of course, it does. Welcome to Bahrain.

Yesterday’s general strike took place within the context of the Catalan election campaign, with voters going to the polls on November 25.
The two parties not present yesterday, the Right-wing nationalists CIU and Unionist Right-Wing Partido Popular (PP) are agreed on one thing: they both approve the austerity programme.
The difference between them is: who pays the bill?

CIU wants €5 billion back from Madrid but will want to enact the same disastrous programme of cuts to show the financial markets that Barcelona can take the axe to public sector budgets like the rest.

The CIU will win the election and do some populist grandstanding.
However, its leader, Artus Mas, is riding the tiger. The social unrest has been channeled into strikes and also a call for independence.
The CIU is only a stop on the journey to social transformation.
Breaking the chains of Madrid is not going to be enough.
The battle will then be between the likes of ICV (Greens), ERC and popular networks against the entrenched big business friendly Catalan nationalists of the CIU.
Or to put it another way: Left-wing and Green Nationalists vs. Right-Wing nationalists.
A similar dynamic is in place in the Basque Country, also set to leave the Spanish straitjacket.

The slow-motion crash of the State of Spain continues and the social conflict is shifting to a clash between Right and Left.

ICV says Alternative Left exists in Catalunya calling for an alliance against Austerity

El candidato de ICV-EUiA a la Presidencia de la Generalitat de Cataluña, Joan Herrera, manifestó hoy en el Fórum Europa que el próximo 25 de noviembre los catalanes no votarán en las urnas sobre la independencia, aunque algunos lo crean, sino sobre otras cuestiones importantes para la sociedad, como los servicios públicos o la “austeridad dogmática” que defienden CiU y PP.
Herrera fue hoy el conferenciante invitado en el citado encuentro informativo, organizado en Madrid por Nueva Economía Fórum y en el que fue presentado por la escritora Almudena Grandes.
“El 25-N hay gente que cree que se vota independencia, pero lo que se vota es política de salud, de educación, fiscal… Se votan muchas otras cosas”, dijo Herrera.
Para el candidato ecosocialista a la Presidencia de la Generalitat de Cataluña, el próximo 25-N hay que “derrotar las políticas de austeridad dogmática, que están causando tanto sufrimiento en la sociedad, no en la identidad”.
Herrera abogó por una “alianza contra la austeridad”, porque es necesario “redistribuir para crecer” y también “cuestionar la deuda”, como hacen cada vez más países, pues hay que discutir si parte de ella es legítima.
A su juicio, en Cataluña empieza a existir una alternativa de izquierdas a la Cataluña de Artur Mas, “esa que es más conservadora y profundamente neoliberal y que hace que la realidad de muchos catalanes sea cada vez más dura”.

(SERVIMEDIA)

Will “Centre-Left” Parties in Europe collapse?

Apologies for inserting the word “Left”. It’s how they or the Commentariat describe themselves.
French Leader, Hollande took six months to betray his voters and supporters. At least Mitterand tried first before succumbing to the New World Order after two years.
The Spanish equivalent in Catalonia are set to fall apart in the 25-N elections, far worse than their disastrous results in 2010.
Doesn’t look like any way back in Portugal.
As for PASOK, once the all-powerful juggernaut – it is now down to 7% and fast sinking into oblivion.

Hollande is losing the Green support – who have obviously learnt from the Irish experience – despite Danny Cohn Bendit (Danny le bleu)’s best efforts to steer the Greens closer to the Barroso vision of an institutionally right-wing Europe.
It is clear that Le Gauche will rise, as well as the Greens in France at the expensive of Hollande.

The German SPD on 29% are neck and neck with Merkel’s alliance as the German Greens add their 14%.
If it goes to the wire, and the SPD refuse to link up with Die Linke (Left), then the strongest economy in the Continent will let the Pirates decide who rule!
New or One Nation Labour hope their opinion polls are real and expect to coast back to power in 2014-15.
They might want to put the corks back in the champagne bottles.
Their 11% lead is entirely accounted for by the 11% of the Far Right UKIP. Those UKIP supporters will retreat back to the Tories in the absurd first past the post electoral system.
Therefore, it boils down to whether New Labour can persuade the Lib Dems to dump Clegg for Cable and form a Lib-Lab alliance (reminiscent of the 1970s).
The joker in the pack is Alex Salmond and his referendum in the autumn of 2014.
At the moment, the fizz has gone out of the independence movement – languishing at 30%.
However, the more Cameron and Osbourne appear in Scotland in 2013 and 2014, and the more Scottish Labour shift to the Right (to help Miliband-Balls in their quest for the Tory vote in Southern England), the more the Scottish Nationalists will fancy their chances of causing an upset hoping the 16-17 year olds catch the radical wave.
The Netherlands defied expectations and the Centre-Left did much better than expected.
Italy: I am not sure what could happen in spring 2013.

So all in all, we can say that the Southern European Centre Left is in decline.
In France, they look to follow in the medium term.
Further North, things look brighter for the Centre Left.
However, the margin is tight and a German defeat in October 2013 for the SPD could be decisive.

“Socialist” pro-Madrid PSC vote set to collapse in Catalan elections

Support for Catalonia’s independence grows and polls say pro-independence parties would win the next elections
CNA

Barcelona (ACN).- The day before the Catalan election campaign kicks off, the survey centres run by the Spanish and Catalan governments have both issued their own surveys.
They both indicate that the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which currently runs the Catalan Government, would clearly win the next elections, scheduled on the 25th of November.
CiU would gain more votes and would be very close to or even obtain an absolute majority. In fact, the parties supporting the self-determination process would globally gain more votes and increase their share in the Catalan Parliament, reaching a possible 70% of the MPs, within a 135-seat house.
In fact, support for Catalonia’s independence from Spain is growing, according to the survey issued by the Centre of Opinion Studies (CEO), run by the Catalan Government.
At the moment, 57% of Catalans would vote for independence in a referendum, while in June the percentage was 51%.

The survey issued by the Centre of Sociological Research (CIS), run by the Spanish Government, did not include this question.
Both surveys indicate that the main opposition party, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is against independence, would dramatically drop, losing between 30% and 45% of MPs, while it had already obtained its worst results ever in 2010.

As a consequence, the People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, might become the party in second place, despite obtaining similar results (the surveys indicate it might lose or win 1 MP). The Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) would increase its representation by 40% to 70% and might become the third party again. In addition, the populist and anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s), which only had 3 MPs and lacked its own parliamentary group, would double its results. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), which supports self-determination and has been the most vocal party against budget cuts, would obtain similar results or show a very small improvement. In addition, those undecided represent a large group of the population, as 29.5% of the people interviewed by the CEO had not decided their vote yet. In addition, both surveys forecast a significant electoral turnout. According to the CEO the turnout might reach 65%; according to the CIS, 74%.

57% of Catalans would vote for independence in a referendum

According to the CEO survey, in a self-determination referendum, 57% of Catalans would vote for independence from Spain. In the previous survey, issued in late June, the percentage was 51%. According to the survey issued in November, 57% would support independence while 20.5% would vote against it. In addition, 14.3% of citizens would abstain or would not go to the polls.

In addition, 44% of Catalans consider that Catalonia should be an independent state, and 25.5% of citizens would prefer Catalonia to have its own state but be within a federal Spain. 19.1% would support the current status quo, with Catalonia being an autonomous community within Spain. Finally, 4% would prefer a unitary state with Catalonia considered to be a region.

The CiU would win the Catalan elections and could reach an absolute majority

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which has been running the Catalan Government for two years ago and is leading the current self-determination process, would improve their results according to both surveys. In the last elections, CiU obtained 62 MP seats, while the Catalan Parliament’s absolute majority is set at 68 seats. According to the Spanish survey, CiU would obtain between 63 and 64 seats. According to the CEO, CiU would get an absolute majority of between 69 and 71 MPs.

The PSC would drop votes and obtain its worst results ever, once again

The main opposition party, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), would dramatically drop the number of votes. Already, in 2010, the PSC got its worst results ever, obtaining 28 seats, far below the 52 seats obtained in 1999 or even the 37 seats in 2006. Now, it could drop even more and become Catalonia’s third or fourth party. According to the CIS, the PSC might obtain 19 seats. The CEO gives only 15 MPs to the Socialists. The PSC is against Catalonia’s independence and proposes a federal Spain.

The PP would get similar results

The People’s Party (PP), which currently runs the Spanish Government and is absolutely opposed to Catalonia’s independence and the possibility of organising a self-determination referendum, would get similar results. In 2010 it obtained 18 MPs, which were its best results ever in Catalonia. According to the CIS, the PP could lose 1 or 2 MPs, getting between 16 and 17 MPs. However, the Catalan survey states that the PP could repeat the 18 seats, or even get an additional MP, reaching 19 seats. Depending on the PSC’s drop, the PP could become Catalonia’s second party for the first time ever, even if they hypothetically lost MPs.

The ERC would significantly improve results

The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), which had traditionally been the main pro-independence party in Catalonia, would significantly improve its results. In 2010, ERC got very low results resulting from an internal crisis and only obtained 10 seats, far from the 23 and 21 MPs from 2003 and 2006 respectively. After a change of leadership, in the next elections, ERC could get 17 seats according to the CIS. Depending on the PP’s and PSC’s results, ERC could become Catalonia’s third party and be very close to be the second political force. However, the CEO gives 14 seats to ERC.

The ICV-EUiA would slightly increase support

The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), which has been the most vocal party against austerity measures and budget cuts, would slightly increase their support or get the same number of MPs. Furthermore, for the first time, ICV-EUiA has given its support to Catalonia’s self-determination process. The CIS survey gives ICV-EUiA 11 MPs. In 2010 it obtained 10 seats. The CEO survey gives ICV-EUiA the same 10 seats.

The C’s would double results and get a parliamentary group

The populist and anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s), which is absolutely opposed to Catalonia’s independence, would double its results, although it would still be a relatively small party in the Catalan Parliament. In 2010, C’s got 3 MPs of the Parliament’s 135 seats. Now, the Spanish survey gives C’s 6 MPs. The CEO survey indicates that C’s could even obtain 7 seats. In both cases, for the first time ever, C’s would get its own parliamentary group.

The SI and CUP might not be in the Parliament

The results of two radical pro-independence parties are doubtful as they are very close to the minimum percentage to get parliamentary representation. The populist Solidaritat (SI), which obtained 4 seats in 2010, might be left out of the Catalan Parliament. The CIS gives SI 1 MP, but the CEO leaves SI out of the Parliament. In addition, the radical Left-Wing pro-independence party (CUP), which is running in the Catalan Elections for the first time, might enter the Parliament. The CIS does not give the CUP an MP at all. However, the CEO indicates that they could get between 0 and 3 seats.

Technical data in the surveys

Both surveys took interviews throughout Catalonia, covering rural and urban areas, and towns and cities of different sizes. In addition, both surveys tried to get a representative sample regarding age and gender. The Spanish survey took 3,000 face-to-face interviews between the 9th and 29th of October, with a 1.8% margin of error for the entire sample. The Catalan survey took 2,500 phone interviews between the 22nd and 30th of October, with a margin of error of 2.47%.

Source: catalan survey

Are the General Strikes in Europe today an investment rather than a cost?

The reactionaries will no doubt focus on passengers have missed flights as a consequence of today’s General strikes in Southern Europe.
They will divide the GDP of each country by 365 days and claim that that one day’s worth of Gross domestic product was “lost”.
They will ask: can we afford to lose this wealth in the middle of such a crisis.

To which we can respond by asking them to calculate:

a) the potential wealth-generation of half of the youth willing and able to work but unable to find a post
b) the potential GDP of 26% of Spain’s unemployed and the vast multiplier effects as each Euro earned changes hand several times
c) the continual loss in revenue by governments as they allow Multinationals to get away with not paying taxes
d) the health, psychological and social costs of cuts, loss of jobs and livelihoods and homes to live in caused by the current policies.

Whether the general strike is enough on its own or not, the fact that Greeks took to the streets meant that vulture bond holders had to take a severe haircut on their worthless bonds.
The more the fightback by Europe’s peoples, the more likely the governments will abandon this 1930’s era of Cuts and austerity for the majority and replace it with a 21st century strategy of creating decent jobs, reducing inequality and moving to an innovative, Green economy.
In that sense, strikes act as a long-term investment in the future of economies by attempting to stop the current madness.
Docility can no longer be the zeitgeist of this generation. Action and a call for an alternative way of thinking is fast becoming the dominant paradigm of the population.

Will those “unreliable” voter machines play a role tonight?

Mr. Mitt Romney, his wife, son and brother own Solamere, a private equity fund.
This fund has investments in H.I.G. Capital, the majority shareholder of Hart Intercivic.
Hart happens to be the US’s third-largest voting machine company. Apparently, the machines are pretty “unreliable” and will be counting votes today in quite a number of swing states – Ohio included.

Lawyers are setting their fees and hoping for some hanky-panky – sorry, theft – and looking forward to court actions over the next few weeks.

Just what the country needs with a fiscal cliff looming on January 1st 2013.